Friday, October 24, 2008

Hampi

With one more destination we wanted to see, we reluctantly left Goa to go eastward to Hampi...as luck would have it, we would pull one last 3am-er. We left Varca by walking 2 kilometers, hitching a ride with a hotel bus and finally getting a quick local bus to Margao. Let's start by clarifying that local= overcrowded with seats too small for the western behind. From there it was a local bus to Hubli. We bumped through the countryside and 8 hours later ( at 6pm) we made it to Hubli, tired but motivated to get to our destination. It took quite a while for us to get a straight answer, but eventually we were directed to the train station where we waited for a local train leaving at 11pm...within 4 hours we were in Hospet and a rickshaw ride later we made it to Hampi. Phew!
Hampi is situated on a river about 15 meters wide, which all but about 2 meters of it can be crossed by foot i.e. you gotta take a boat. the boat operator is maybe 12 years old and orders you to pay him the 10 rupees(plus an extra 5 for a bag). once on the other side "Hampi Island" you are welcomed with 15 guesthouses/restaurants as well as the impressive boulders surrounding the area. So the next morning we cross over to hampi island, only to be stranded there for quite a while after checking into a guest house because the kid was on lunch break...When we finally made it back we explored Hampi's religious center and the Virupaksha temple. Hampi was capital of the Vijayanagar Hindu civiization in the 13th to 16th centuries and the town is full of ruins roughly divided into a religious area and the royal center. The town today occupies the main bazaar area. We returned to Hampi Island for the night and the next day set out exploing the royal center.
The ruins are incredibly spread out and with the scorching heat we decided to rent a scooter in order to see them, only to get a bike with no petrol. So after an 11 km detour to Hospet to get petrol we finally got to see the sites. Hampi is also known for its incredible boulders and that night on the Island we met a friend that had come to town to go bouldering.
Our last day we decided to go for a walk. Hampi's ruins and boulders are set amongst banana fields and palm trees making for quite a beautiful, if hot, walk. We set off to Anegundi to see more ruins supposedly and realized it was all a farse...a little temple here and there and we were ready to bolt back to Varca...

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